June 2010


Following the Lou Bondi programme in which he interviewed Norman Lowell, there was one thing that really struck me. Among the offended parties – people with a disability, parents of adopted African children, and anti-racists – one group didn’t even raise a small voice: Gift of Life. Yes, a group so touchy on anything that might compromise the life of the unborn child said absolutely nothing when a man in front of Malta’s national station advocated the abortion of children with a disability, not only in the first couple of weeks since conception but up to one hour following the unwanted child’s birth. In fact, GoL’s deafening silence during all this controversy made me think the movement had quit existing.

I was wrong. Once again GoL are attacking Partit Laburista’s MEP’s for voting in favor of a resolution that mainly targets poverty and the Millenium Development Goals which also has a fleeting statement regarding reproductive rights.

They’re still around. Why the silence on Lowell then? In my opinion there is only one reason. Since Lowell is unelectable in Malta he is no threat to the Nationalist Party. In fact, with the obvious exception of Dr Rebekka Gomberts, the only people confronted (and misquoted) by GoL were either involved in the PL or AD.

Stinks of political blackmail, doesn’t it? But there’s more. I do not believe that GoL have saved the life of a single unborn child. I’ll explain why.

Apart from being part of the PN propaganda machine, GoL have only one goal – entrenching abortion into the Maltese Constitution. This doesn’t make any sense since abortion is already considered illegal in Malta’s Criminal Code. And by the nature of the law, it finds itself in the right place. Why this obsession on the entrenching abortion in the Constitution when there is so much that can be done? Things that will actually prevent abortions from taking place.

I will mention three:

1) Law enforcement: Has any doctor been arraigned for committing an abortion these last 10 years? Not that I’ve heard of. Are abortions taking place in Malta? If no, why the fuss? If yes, how about directing your cannons towards the illegalities going on? Discussions with the Police maybe, or asking the public for information that may help hunting these doctors down? I don’t think entrenching abortion will deter any abortionist. Seeing your colleagues ripped of their warrant and behind bars is another thing though.

2) Sex education: The absolute majority of abortions take place for one reason – unwanted pregnancies. In the EU, Malta has one of the highest rates of casual sex, yet one of the lowest when it comes to the use of contraceptives. Doesn’t that ring an alarm bell somewhere? How about having less women wanting to have an abortion?

3) Empowering women: There are various reasons why some women want to abort their babies. Some of them include the need to work, either because the woman has a career or because she risks falling in the poverty trap. Yet, from GoL, I have never heard a single word regarding extended maternity leave (which is in question right now due to an EU ruling), child care centres at the place of work and enforcing laws on women being treated unfairly at the place of work. Never. Neither have I ever heard a word on social benefits for single parents who can’t work in order to raise children, or increasing Children’s Allowance for couples where the mother’s full time job is raising children.

Personally I am against abortion, which is one of the reasons why I object to the tactics of this movement. If you have read this article, I’d like you to be honest: What will save more lives of unborn children, my proposals or those of GoL?

It is accepted by many that the influence of the Catholic church on Maltese politics is not only present like it is in other democratic countries, but goes too far. This can be viewed by a series of censorships, as well as criminal charges on people who ‘vilified religion’ or used vulgar language in artistic works. It is all the more evident in the church’s tough stand against the introduction of divorce in Malta, the absence of which is only present in the all so Catholic Philippines.

However now we are facing a situation when a local MP that gets elected on the ticket of a Party that promotes itself as progressive wants stricter laws on consenting adults who like to watch other consenting adults having sex in front of a camera. Dr Adrian Vassallo goes to the extent of expressing envy towards theocratic countries such as Iran due to their stronghold on laws against religion.

Needless to say this is ridiculous. However even worse than that, I see the recurrent situation where we are discussing prohibition or not for things such as pornography without going into the issue itself. Waving farewell to secularity, people like Dr Vassallo find the main reason for opposing pornography in the bible or other religious texts.

In reality, pornography can have a negative effect on society if approached with the wrong attitude. However the reasons for this are not religious and the answer is definitely not prohibition.

I listened to an interesting discussion from Cindy Gallop. Ms Gallop is not very sympathetic towards pornography. However she did not derive her conclusions by reading the bible. Rather these were based on her own sexual experiences with men, conversations on the issue as well as browsing porn sites.

According to Ms Gallop what she terms as ‘the porn world’ presents a different reality towards sex than ‘the real world’. In her website http://www.makelovenotporn.com she explains these different realities. For example, the porn world gives the impression that women love having men cumming on their faces. In reality, the majority of women don’t. Another false impression is that a woman having fun while touching a man reaches an orgasm after another without having anyone rubbing her clitoris. In reality, things don’t work that way.

What Ms Gallop advises is not censorship (and let’s face it, with today’s technology cencorship is not only a nasty thing but also impossible to accomplish) but education. Women should learn that they are not obliged to (for example) accept men cumming on their faces or into their mouth. Refusing to do such things does not mean that she is a lesser woman in bad, because that is what the porn world has teached her partner. Neither should a man expect it.

Some men, especially those with a low self esteem are harmed by porn because they feel different, even inferior to the men performing pornography. They should learn that the reason their partner does not have an orgasm every two minutes for hours on end is not because they are inadequate but because it is the natural thing that happens when people are having sex. It is the porn world that is wrong, not them.

Censorship hurts in more than one way. On one side it is arrogant, theocratic and undermines democratic principles. On another side it prevents well intentioned and informed people from teaching the truth and exposing reality. Thanks to people like Dr Vassallo, we still have the porn but not the educaton.

I would also warn Dr Vassallo that if he really decides moving to Iran he might feel shocked by the fact that despite the strict prohibition he will still find access not only to pornography but also well organised brothels.

I don’t intend (or presume I’m competent) to make an analysis of Marxism. However, in very simplistic terms, I think Marx’s analysis on how people interact both socially and economically is the best that has ever been written. On the other hand most of his proposed solutions were far from foolproof and some of the worst atrocities committed in modern history were done in the name of Marxism.

This does not make by any means Marx irrelevant. We have the person who managed to ask the right questions and came out with the most relevant answers. This is 2010. The situation may be different but the underlying questions (and answers) are basically the same.

A very small amount of people (less than 1% of the world population) own nearly all the means, and take all relevant decisions for the rest. Decisions that leave some 10% of the world population in sheer famine, and some other 50% in serious poverty. Thankfully, most readers of this article and myself are among the richest 40% of this world. Yet, we have to struggle to pay our water and electricity bills, plan having children mainly on the basis of our financial limitations, and are in an ever increasing risk of poverty if something goes wrong in our lives. But we are rich, aren’t we?

What baffles me most is not why the poor 60% do not rise up against the extreme exploitation and injustice they are going through. Most of them can’t, especially if they are living under a brutal military regime or a ruthless dictator. Some do try. Against all odds, human rights activists in third world countries keep working against poverty and exploitation – including the ever increasing child and slave labour. These heroes do win some battles in favour of justice, most of the time at the cost of being imprisoned, tortured and murdered.

What baffles me is why we, the upper 40% in financial power, who relatively have some means, are so apathetic. Not only most of us don’t give a damn about the poor, but it seems we have accepted our fate to keep on struggling with life while the fat cats are getting fatter and we are getting poorer (while the poorest are dying faster).

How can the greedy 1% have complete control over the rest of us? We are the absolute majority after all!

Obviously the fat cats have the means especially the media and the money to corrupt politicians. However I believe their greatest weapon is our weakest point – we are vulnerable to be divided, and to be divided means to be ruled.

The dividing lines between us are plenty. They can be on the basis of which football team you support, your race, religion, language or dialect, position in life, or on which political party you support (not realising that most exploit you equally).

Migrants, especially the black ones are taking our jobs. Single parents are sucking us dry with the social assistance they receive. And why the hell should our governments pay a toilet assistant for doing nothing all day? And let’s revive the black moments of our history. Who behaved worse, the reds or the blues? Let’s hate each other for it.

Yes fat cat, we seem to be pleading, send us another bone to fight for while you enjoy all the meat. They throw one and laugh, while we fall for it and fight between ourselves even more.

“Workers of the world unite, you’ve got nothing to lose but your chains”
has never been more relevant than now, in this globalised world that is severely harmed by some gambling gone wrong in Wall Street. Yet, we are still fighting amongst ourselves.

Could it be that we have come to believe that the chains themselves have become our unquestionable fate?